04/21/2004 11:00PM

Abundance of Texas Mile contenders


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - The more one looks at the past performances for Saturday's Grade 3, $300,000 at Lone Star Park, the more muddied the race becomes - and it does not help that showers are in the forecast. Snorter figures to go favored as he attempts to win his fourth straight race, but cases can be made for most in the eight-horse field, including Pie N Burger, Mountain General, Kela, Taste of Paradise, and Supah Blitz.

And then there is Yessirgeneralsir, who would be one to reckon with if he runs back to the 107 Beyer Speed Figure he earned last time when he won an entry-level allowance in near track-record time at Fair Grounds.

"It's a very interesting race," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Mountain General.

Snorter has come to hand in recent months, winning two allowances at Santa Anita before taking the Grade 3, $100,000 Berkeley Breeders' Cup last out at Golden Gate Fields. He advanced along the rail in the Berkeley, and covered one mile in a blazing 1:33.80. David Flores has the mount for trainer Bobby Frankel.

Eddie Martin will be aboard Mountain General. In his last start, Mountain General closed fast for second in the $125,000 Pelleteri Breeders' Cup at Fair Grounds on March 14, earning a 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

In the lone two-turn start of his career, Mountain General won a stakes at Lone Star in 2002.

"He won the Bob Johnson here at a mile and ran a 103 Beyer," said Asmussen. "I've been looking to run him here a mile ever since."

Asmussen likes how Mountain General, a winner of $554,667, stacks up against the competition Saturday.

"He's a Grade 3 winner at Churchill Downs," he said. "He was second in a Grade 2 at Saratoga. He fits. He definitely fits."

So does Kela, who seems to be sitting on a peak race. In his last start, he found himself trailing for most of the Grade 3 San Bernardino Handicap at 1 1/8 miles before finishing fifth to Dynever.

"He did not want to be back that far," said Mike Mitchell, who trains Kela. "He gets discouraged. Really, he has more speed than that and the tactics are to lay closer this time."

Pie N Burger, who drew the rail, will also be close to the pace, said his trainer, Cole Norman. "He's always on the lead or right there close to it," Norman said. "He doesn't have to be on the lead, but he likes to be in the mix of things."

Supah Blitz and Winning Fans are the only two horses in the field with wins over a wet track. The forecast is for showers and a high of 72.

On the undercard, Hi Teck Man, winner of the $500,000 WinStar Derby, will make his turf debut in the $75,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge.